Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the three Northern Regions have heaped praises on the Government of Ghana, noting that the COVID-19 support interventions by the Government of Ghana have helped sustained their businesses.
This formed part of the findings of a community scorecard on the implementation of the government’s relief packages to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of MSMEs in seven selected districts in the three Northern Regions. The scorecard assessed the government’s COVID-19 support interventions in the areas of information dissemination and public education, application and selection process, benefits and impacts, and accountability. The findings were presented at a meeting in Tamale.
The MSMEs who are from Northern Region, North East and Savannah Regions, testified that the Government’s funds under the COVID-19 support scheme, enabled them to grow their businesses. However, the scorecard found out that while some MSMEs made good use of the funds, others saw it as free money and mismanaged it.
According to the scorecard findings, “the application process to receive the funds was not decentralised enough and was characterised by partisan politics. There was also no proper needs assessment conducted before the support was given to some applicants.”
Following the findings, the scorecard awarded an overall score of 43 per cent to the government on the way it implemented its COVID-19 relief packages. It subsequently recommended that announcements on any of such support packages should be made through traditional media, social media platforms and other local information centres to reach many more people, especially the non-literate populations.
Lessons Learnt from Issues Raised
Mr Issah Osman, Head of Business Advisory Centre at the Savelugu Municipal Assembly, acknowledged the issues raised in the scorecard, saying “the lessons learnt would improve delivery of subsequent interventions.”
Rita Ntoso, Programmes Officer of STAR Ghana Foundation, also indicated that the gaps observed by the scorecard in terms of information sharing and the application process for the government’s COVID-19 support meant that the government must use local information centres to disseminate information on such packages in future.
Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman, Executive Director of Ghana Developing Communities Association, noted that state authorities would be engaged on the findings of the scorecard to ensure that they put in place measures to address the situation in subsequent editions.
The compilation of the community scorecard was undertaken by the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), an NGO, with support from STAR Ghana Foundation and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office as part of the Baobab Initiative for Social Accountability (BISA) on Government’s Response to COVID-19 project.
The BISA project, implemented from September 2021 to March 2022, sought to assess the impact of government’s support to MSMEs and how effective the government’s support has been from the perspective of the beneficiaries.
It can be recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the country in March 2020 and brought about disruptions to activities leading to loss of jobs, collapse of some businesses.
In view of this, the government launched the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) programme and the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) programme where MSMEs amongst others across the country were granted funding to support their operations.